To the Giants
I see you in the exalted journals, astonished by your concrete subjects, perfect imagery and veiled conclusions. Only you can do this. Others try to cage what has to soar. You tie one-pound-test to it and set it free When the line breaks you have a poem. I've seen you write four hundred lines on roasted meat, a hundred on zucchinis. You can make poetry out of a dishcloth. I sent my work to one of you once. Your secretary wrote me back: "Mr. S-- no longer comments on others' work because of his busy schedule." I thought your next book sucked. I swear the two events were not related. Maybe you remember how it was before you "made it." I thought if I could pin your glittering eyes with just a line, I'd have a chance. Instead I drop rectangular white prayers in mailboxes and change commemoratives for luck. When the rejection slips arrive, I file them under "What the editors missed." They always say: "We regret your work does not suit our publication's needs at this time," As if! As if they had needs! As if it were a matter of timing! I dream of an editor in a blue paisley suit who likes martinis rummaging through the "slush" pile. She finds my poem about the possum. Her cat-eye glasses slip her bridge, eyes squint like commas. Another martini and she thinks "Why not?" until the Glucks, Merwins and Ashberrys start levitating from her in-box to divide the sorcerers from the apprentices. I have so little time, she thinks, and this is not the time for risks-- subscriptions are static, the board is short of funds, besides, even angstrom-thin pages could not accommodate all the deserving. Prides already war over my bleached savannas. If another craves entrance, let him bring rains like Elijah, make the ink run.
C. E. Chaffin